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University band makes waves on national radio

A folk-rock band consisting entirely of academics from the University of St Andrews will take over the airwaves today in their first national radio appearance.

The band, Dry Island Buffalo Jump, formed in early 2008 and consists of four historians, a French linguist and a poet.

They will play and chat live on Radio Scotland this lunchtime, performing a range of original songs written by founder-member Dr Chris Jones and his academic colleagues.

The group were invited on the arts and culture show, The Radio Café, after catching the attention of producer Bronwen Tulloch, who was “curious as to why academics of such ‘high minded’ subjects as French linguistics and mediaeval poetry would want to form a band.”

They will appear ‘in conversation’ and will debut new songs about the credit crunch, being a Fife cowboy and the end of the world, part written by historian James Palmer, who has an interest in apocalyptic theories.  Dundonian poet Don Paterson, a Reader in Creative Writing at St Andrews and fellow musician, will join in the discussion.

Dr Jones, an English lecturer and expert in Anglo-Saxon poetry, has joined forces with colleagues in the Schools of History and Modern Languages, in what he hopes will become a `music-making collective’ for academics across the University.

Late last year, following a number of gigs in venues in and around St Andrews, the band played their first session on student radio station Star FM, but this is their first live national airplay.

Dr Jones commented, “We’ve written a number of songs recently about contemporary issues, but set them in a historical context.  For example, our song about the credit crunch features the Old Testament prophet Hosea showing up and telling us that we’re reaping what we’ve sown.

“Another song sets the earliest surviving lyric in Scots to the Fife bluegrass sound. The poem refers to the death of Alexander III in 1286, an event which precipitates the wars of independence. It was first written down by a Fifer called Andrew of Wyntoun in the 15th century. We actually own one of the original manuscripts at St Andrews.”

The group came about during a jamming session held at Chris’s home.  Chris, who plays bass guitar, banjo and bodhran, envisages an evolving lineup, with new colleagues taking part in this unusual form of interdisciplinary collaboration as `academics inevitably move on’.

The group describe themselves as `Americana folk-rock, a bit like The Band, if they were from Dairsie.  Current members include Dr Jones’s colleagues at the St Andrews Institute of Mediaeval Studies; Dr James Palmer, Professor Chris Given-Wilson, Dr Peter Kushner and Dr Simon MacLean, Dr David Evans from the Department of French, and Dr Norman Reid, Head of Special Collections in the University library.

Dry Island Buffalo Jump appear on Radio Scotland’s Radio Café on Tuesday 17 March at 1.15pm.   For further information contact them on dibj@st-andrews.ac.uk

You can listen to their appearance online until Tuesday 24 March via http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00j7213/The_Radio_Cafe_17_03_2009/

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS:

FOUNDER-MEMBER OF DRY ISLAND BUFFALO JUMP DR CHRIS JONES (SCHOOL OF ENGLISH) IS AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW ON 01334 462673, email dibj@st-andrews.ac.uk


NOTE TO PICTURE EDITORS:

IMAGES OF THE BAND IN ST ANDREWS ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE PRESS OFFICE – CONTACTS BELOW.

 

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Gayle Cook, Press Officer on 01334 467227 / 462529, mobile 07900 050 103, or email gec3@st-andrews.ac.uk

Ref:  Profs on air 160309
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